Z ack Dinerstein and Lisa Tauber, both 35, moved from Park Slope, Brooklyn, to Tel Aviv a year ago for her job at Fiverr, an online marketplace for freelance services (he is a web developer and former podcast producer). Newlyweds, they recently went for a romantic getaway to Paris — only to find on their return that France had been added to Israel’s list of countries from which travelers must stay in isolation. Now, they are among 80,000 people confined to their homes, and they’re letting us follow along.
As we enter our 11th quarantine day (only 2 more to go!), we want to share the little things that helped us feel human through 2 weeks of isolation. Here, we’ll list the stuff we did correctly going in, and the stuff we wish we had done before shutting the gate.
Crafts / Projects
Quarantine is the perfect time to learn a new skill, or finish an old project, and it gives you something to do other than Netflixing the night away. These are the crafts we made (or wish we had).
Macrame – Lisa bought bundles of rope for a planned macrame craft a few weeks before isolation. Now, we have this beautiful creation ready to hang over our couch.
Clay La TLV (Paint your own pottery) – A service that was recommended to us by our quarantine WhatsApp group. The pots arrive along with paints, you decorate the pots, and send them back to be glazed. It’s an easy, creative way to spend an afternoon together.
1000 piece puzzles – We didn’t have one on hand, but I wish we had. Perfect activity for a quiet day.
Small home repairs – Don’t go nuts here and repaint your ceiling, but small touch ups are a perfect way to glean some benefit out of staying at home (and make your partner happy). We re-did some of the grout in our shower. Easy-peasy.
Create a blog/podcast/Instagram about your experience – More than anything else, this helped me stay productive and engaged through this long experience. Publishing about your time in isolation encourages you to recognize the interesting oddities of your new routine. And, sharing your experience will help you feel more connected to friends and family in the outside world, and them to you.
Your step count is gonna drop, but that doesn’t mean you need to throw your fitness out the window. Exercise is an extremely important component to staying energized and productive, especially while shut in. Find a good routine, do it everyday, and your body and mind will think you.
Yoga Mats – One yoga mat for every person in isolation. Even if you don’t do yoga, you can use these for other exercises.
Free Weights – Beats mason jars filled with dried lentils.
Wireless headphones – Often, you and your partner will be listening to different exercise podcasts at the same time, in the same room. Using earbuds is a good way to avoid drowning each other out and wireless earbuds are perfect for retaining full motion without getting tangled in wires.
If you have no wireless headphones, an arm band you can strap your iPhone to, or a zippered pocket on your gym shorts, accomplishes the same thing. (When you’re locked into a shoulder stand, you don’t want your phone sliding out of your pocket and landing on your face. Been there. Not fun.)
Exercise / Wellness Programs
20 Minute Yoga Sessions -Yoga exercise podcast. Short programs ranging from beginner practices to advanced flows. Comes with pose guides for each lesson. Totally free. Dozens of flows to choose from.
7 Minutes To Fit – The app version of the book with the same name. Seven-minute-long exercise routines you can do in your living room. Straightforward, but will definitely get your heart pumping. (The app in the iPhone App Store is now called “Seven”)
Headspace — Meditation helps a lot in isolation when you’re feeling stressed, listless, or pulled in a dozen different directions. Headspace offers great introductory lessons for meditation, and themed guided meditation routines.
If the cost is too high, Insight Timer is a free alternative, which offers a number of different meditation clocks, and guided meditations.
Connect with a Quarantine-related text group – Lisa found the WhatsApp group “14 Days,” a chat chain for TelAvivians entering quarantine. Members have offered recipes, information about the outside world, or just encouragement when we were having a down day.
Dialup App – An app created by two artists to connect people in quarantine around the world. An incredible idea, totally free. We used it today and chatted with a man living in South Korea. Amazing way to meet new people while confined at home.
Stay in touch with friends through texting or phone calls – Obvious. Essential.
Every week, you say you want to cook more. Well here’s your chance! Cooking dinner is a great way to save money and to keep yourself from subsisting on a junk-food/cereal diet.
Supplies for baking – We made Challah with this recipe from BrokAss Gourmet.
A list of recipes you want to make – We chose eight recipes, and ended up cooking 5 out of 7 days a the week (to be honest, Lisa was behind the stove most days). This will save you a lot of money, and keep you eating relatively healthy.
You’ll need to stay informed in a way that doesn’t make you crazy. These are the sites we used.
Jessica Yellen (Instagram feed) – Former CNN correspondent. Does an incredible job of delivering the news — often Corona-related — in a calm, fun, professional way. She’s basically the smart, informed friend you go to for advice.
The Daily (Podcast) – NY Times news podcast. Episodes everyday. Made with fantastic storytelling chops, and told in a way that’s always engaging.
Quarantine Related Art
Inspiration from other people in isolation
Donal Turner: Self-Quarantine in Beijing – Strange, beautiful drawings from a French artist living in Beijing who fell under quarantine in February.
You’re gonna be doing a lot of sitting. You might as well sit well.
- A comfy chair for sitting outside – Soak up that sun!
- A comfy chair for working indoors – You’ll be working from home for at least the next two weeks. Don’t kill your back slouching on a wooden kitchen chair.
- Create a home office (or at least a dedicated work space) – This will help keep work and life separate, and allow you to focus on work during work hours. Wherever this space is, make sure it has strong wifi.